Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


November 11, 2009
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.





Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 at 8 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 10, 2009 – Described by The New York Times as a  “Mountain-music patriarch … Appalachian music master,” legendary folk musician Doc Watson is the recipient of seven Grammy Awards, a National Medal of the Arts, a national Heritage Fellowship and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. This legendary musician returns to the Center for the Arts with long-time collaborator and Grammy-winning banjoist David Holt and his grandson Richard Watson for an unforgettable evening of music. Showcasing his universally acknowledged virtuosity of the flatpicking guitar, Doc Watson has mastered a wide range of musical genres, including traditional ballads, fiddle tunes, blues, gospel, country and contemporary music. Doc Watson takes the stage at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. for a program that he calls “Hills of Home,” a performance that spans both generations and musical traditions. This performance is family friendly, and tickets are half price for youth through grade 12 when accompanied by an adult. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Guitar was primarily a rhythm instrument at the turn of the 20th century. While many folk and rock ‘n’ roll musicians helped bolster the guitar’s popularity, Watson had the greatest influence on the way the acoustic flat top guitar is played as a lead instrument in folk, old-time and bluegrass music. Watson blends his traditional Appalachian musical roots with bluegrass, country, gospel and blues to create a unique style and an expansive repertoire. “We cover the gamut of mountain musical traditions from old-time to bluegrass, from ballads to blues,” said Holt, a folk musician from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fans not only enjoy Watson’s guitar playing, but also his smooth baritone voice, sharp wit and intellect, good nature, country charm and his wonderful storytelling ability. Watson’s admirers say that no matter how big the concert hall, he always makes you feel as if you are sitting with him in your own living room. “There have been some who have matched his technical facility and grace, but few who have approached Watson’s expressive abilities or the emotional conviction he brings to his playing and singing.” (The Washington Post)    

Watson was born in Deep Gap in the mountains of North Carolina, into a family and a region already rich in musical tradition. His mother, Annie Watson, sang traditional secular and religious songs and his father, General Watson, played the banjo, which he taught to his son. A defect in his eyes caused Watson to completely lose vision before his first birthday. However, his father ensured he never felt helpless. Watson’s father built him a banjo and also bought him a guitar when he was 13, because he had taught himself the chords to “When Roses Bloom in Dixieland.” In 1953, Watson began playing gigs for money with Jack Williams’ rockabilly/swing band, and in 1960, he was invited to record for the first time, and subsequent invitations came to play concerts in New York and at the Newport Jazz Festival. A series of remarkable recordings, including collaborations with Flatt & Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Ricky Skaggs and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band helped make Watson the gold standard among traditional pickers.

Watson performed for many years with his son Merle, who died in a tractor accident in 1985, and he now hosts the annual Merle Watson Memorial Festival. Since Merle’s death, Watson often performs with his grandson, Richard Watson, and Holt, who is known for his folk music and storytelling recordings, his numerous programs on TNN, “Folkways” on PBS, “Riverwalk” on public radio, and for performing throughout the country. Watson and Holt have known each other for more than 35 years and have recorded several CDs together, including the three-volume CD “Legacy,” which won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording of 2002.


Tickets for DOC WATSON are $42, $34, $21. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12, half price when accompanied by an adult! Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.